Improving Your Mental Wellness in 2017

Improving Your Mental Wellness in 2017
It’s pretty common to consider taking care of our physical health but what about our mental health? That’s not as common, but in reality taking care of our mental health can have a huge impact on how we manage our physical health and times of stress.   

Because mental health includes our emotional, psychological and social well-being it affects how we think, feel and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others and make choices.

When we are mentally healthy, we enjoy our life and environment, and the people in it. We can be creative, learn, try new things and take risks. And we are better able to cope with difficult times. Are you ready to add some mental wellness activities into your life? Try these tips:

Make healthy food choices.
What we put on our plate becomes the raw material for our brains to manufacture the chemical substances that control our sleep, mood and behavior. If we short change the brain, we also short change our intellectual and emotional potential! Foods to eat: fresh fruits and veggies, foods high in omega-3 acids like fish, nuts, seeds and eggs; protein, whole grains.

Take control of your stress.

Stress is a fact of life. No matter how we might long for a stress-free existence it’s not going to happen. How we respond to the stress in our life matters. Build a relaxation practice into your day with tools like meditation, breath focus awareness or yoga. Next time you are stressed try this: inhale through your nose to a count of 4 and exhale through your mouth to a count of 6. Repeat several times.

Get a good night’s sleep.

Your brain needs 7-9 hours of sleep to feel ready to face the day. Make sleep a priority.

Move! It makes a difference.
Moderate exercise according to studies does wonders for the brain and is increasingly becoming an important part of the treatment for depression and anxiety. Exercise alone is not a cure, but it does have a positive impact. Even five minutes of aerobic exercise can stimulate anti-anxiety effects. Physical exercise helps to counteract the withdrawal, inactivity and feelings of hopelessness that occur when we are depressed. Moods such as tension, fatigue and anger are all positively affected by exercise and so is our self-esteem.

It does take considerable effort to make lifestyle changes, and even our best efforts can get interrupted by life. But when life happens and you fall off the “lifestyle-change” horse, remember to be kind to yourself; you’ll be more likely to get back on if you can show yourself some compassion.

What will you do to take care of your mental well-being in 2017? Back  
  • Jude Vereyken, LMSW, CAADC

    Jude Vereyken, LMSW, CAADC

    For 30 years, Jude has worked as an outpatient behavioral health clinician in the Holland community where she specializes in treating individuals (and family members) affected by substance use disorders; depression, anxiety and stress; grief/loss concerns; trauma histories; and adjustment and co-occurring disorders. Jude has a special interest in treating concerns that affect women’s lives. She lives in the Holland area with her husband and three very spoiled cats!

    Jude Vereyken, LMSW, CAADC

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